Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. (Ephesians 4:2-4)
A moment of confession here - I am not always humble - my pride gets in the way a lot of times. I am not always gentle - my desire to be first, be right, be whatever brings out some of the harshness of my human nature. Am I always patient? Nope, I don't have that one down either! Do I see your faults and just want to roll my eyes? Sometimes - until I look in the mirror and see my own! Then I just hush-up and hope you haven't noticed I have the same faults.
Living together in peace is the goal - but all this 'human' stuff gets in the way at times, doesn't it? We waste a whole lot of time arguing over things that won't matter a few years from now. We let pride carry us away down some path that says we have the 'right' to be mad, sad, or feeling like we are all alone in the circumstances. Unity isn't capable apart from Christ - we need his Spirit within us to unite us in his love and grace. As long as we attempt to live apart from his Spirit's direction in our lives, we will do a pretty lame job at keeping peace among the brethren.
Marcus Aurelius reminded us that "the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts". Does that possibly mean we might be able to live in unity with each other if we allowed a little bit more of Christ's thoughts to be ours? I think it does. As long as we are thinking about ourselves, we don't see each other. As long as we are considering the outcome as it will affect us, we don't see the impact on our brothers and sisters around us. One of the most powerful things the Spirit of God can do within us is help us change our way of thinking - and in so doing, change our way of acting toward one another.
There is no room for self-made individuals in God's family - we are all God-made and in need of his careful attention in our lives, as a result. The transition from "me - me" to "we - we" begins at the moment we lay down our desire to be in control. Will unity come overnight? No, but the more we turn our eyes toward Christ, the more we will reflect his actions. The more we allow the Word of God to affect our thinking, the more we will begin to see others first. Kindness, unity, and patience are not outflows of a self-made man - they are the outflow of a Christ-centered heart and mind. Just sayin!
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